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Cafe Telephone is a global project founded by artist, Meiying Thai. The Cafe takes form in a series of curated artist games and pop-up salons hosted in secret and intimate environments. 

Cafe Telephone is currently on hiatus, but the project was active from 2015- 2021.


In 2015, after graduating art school, I set out to create the anti-white cube, a space full of warmth, passion, laughter, and above all, romance. Inspired by "cafe culture," Dadaism, the Ballet Russes and movements across both art history and politics, I invited a group of global artists to play a giant game of make believe: to imagine a cafe that could transcend geography, borders and medium specificity. A cafe where a whisper could stretch across an ocean and where there were really only two rules: Dreaming required. Falling in love strongly encouraged.

In the years before social media became as popular as it is now, we connected by emails and WhatsApp groups, playing global games of "Telephone" that grew to almost 100 artists in 15 different countries! Our Telephone games passed secret messages all around the world, whispered through works of art.


Friends began traveling into town to join the salons. We crashed on each other's couches as we made mini ballets, installations and experimental dance films.

Cafe Telephone began to feel so real to me as we all built it with our collective imagination. I watched in amazements as guests returned again and again over the years and the artists became both friends and collaborators. 

We decided to value play and human connection above all else. Our aim was not to make masterpieces, but to simply revel in the inherent joy of the creative process. To see what would happen if mediums met and overlapped-- could a dance become a painting? Could a song become a sculpture?

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Cafe Telephone took many physical forms over the years as we transformed my family's old Tribeca loft into a gallery, a makeshift theater, and even once, a pasta restaurant! During covid, we took our Cafe outside, creating a pop-up cinema in the Lower East side. 


Over the seven beautiful years we ran Cafe Telephone, it became so much more than a project. 


As we grew through our twenties, Cafe Telephone became our own artist movement, a philosophy for how to build creative community and an approach to art for art's sake. The artists and visitors of Cafe Telephone became a vibrant, overflowing, joyous extended family. 

I believe that the magic of Cafe Telephone lives on in every artist who has contributed to the project over the years and in every visitor who helped fill our salons with dancing, laughter, love and wine.

Thank you to everyone who answered the telephone, you know who you are.


All my love, always,

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